A decade ago, businesses could get away with terrible services. Since the competition was always on the low, entrepreneurs could not care less about meeting their clients’ expectations. However, the same standards cannot be applied to current ventures. The excessive competition and the ongoing trend of ‘canceling’ ventures due to poor services have made businesses mindful of their services.
Now, the need to provide commendable services through a reliable network is a necessity. However, before embarking on this journey, it is important to understand and identify all the needed equipment. With the help of the right equipment, you can create a business network that not only helps your business grow but also meets your goal.
Equipment required to set up a Network
Since you need solid networking foundations for your business, selecting equipment that is functional yet cost-effective becomes a necessity. However, the availability of various tools in the market makes it difficult to choose the necessary equipment.
So to help you in your quest, here is a list of all the equipment you need to set up a secure and reliable network for your business.
A modem is a hardware device that allows data transmission through computers with the help of Ethernet. A modem is usually delivered when you sign up for internet services through any provider. However, you can purchase modems on your own if the one provided by the ISP does not meet your requirements.
The purpose of a modem is to facilitate communication between the ISP and your network devices. Additionally, a modem comes in two various forms; Ethernet modem and wireless modem. The first one plugs into the computer’s network card and transmits signals through Ethernet cables (Cat5 or Cat6) and the latter one connects to the computer through wireless LAN which then connects it to the wireless ISP.
- Cables and Connectors
Cables and connectors are utilized to link or connect various devices, i.e. computers, servers, and printers on your network. Various types of cables can be found in the market, for instance, optical fiber cable, coaxial cable, and twisted pair cable. However, depending on your networking requirements, you can go for either one of the cables. To make matters easy for you.
What kind of cable you opt for matters since it also influences your connector’s decision. Generally, RJ-45 connector is the most appropriate choice; however, you can also opt for RS-232 (for serial interface), BNC or RJ-45 (for Ethernet), and SC or ST (for fiber optics).
- Switches and Routers
Routers provide a connection between all the computers on a singular network. It is a hardware device that facilitates data transfer and sends data packets such as web-pages and emails from one device to another (on the same network).
What kind of router to go for, depends on the number of available computers. This is because multiple computer networks require multiple ports in a router to get a stable internet connection. If your business is small, you can choose a modem with multiple ports; however, for an extended venture, you may need to invest in multiple routers for interrupted internet services.
Just like the routers, switches play an important role in ensuring a connected and stable environment as well. Switches are crucial when it comes to providing a connection between the available peripheral devices and multiple computers. With a working switcher in place, all the connected computers can utilize a common copy machine, printer, fax machine, scanner, and more.
- Patch Panel
Patch panels are specifically used with LAN cables since it contains ports that not only connect but also manage the LAN cables. Patch bays, patch field, and jack fields are all the different names for the patch panel.
Usually, patch panels come in a 48, 24 or 12 port panels that are specially designed to facilitate a range of Ethernet cables. Patch panels provide a space to connect the ingoing and outgoing cables. For instance, in the LAN setting, apart from connecting the computers to one another, patch panel also connects the computer network to outside lines that allow LAN to connect with the internet.
The main advantage of the patch panel is that it manages the abundant lines/cables and brings an overall organized feel to your network.
- Servers and Computers
Obviously, you cannot work without having computers so it becomes one of the most important equipment for setting up a network. The number of required computers depends on how big or small your business is since bigger businesses would require multiple computers for a stable network and vice versa.
For a proper network set-up, you will also need to invest in one or multiple main servers. Main computer servers are necessary since it acts as a messenger by storing and transferring information between the connected computers. Additionally, computer servers regulate the access to certain network resources and process requests to transfer data between the computers through a shared network. Generally, a single server setup can support up to thousands of computers; however, larger organizations can invest in multiple servers to quicken processing time.
- Internet and Hardware Firewall
Technically, not a piece of equipment; however, you need to invest a hefty amount in the internet services and such software programs that create a barrier between your network and the outside threats. That said, all of the servers must be installed with network protection software. Such software would not only regulate the data transmission process but will also protect the data along with the connected devices through firewalls.
- Wireless Access Point (WAP)
A wireless access point is a hardware device that allows wireless devices to connect to a shared wired network. WAP is used in such environments or office spaces that want to utilize the same network but cannot do so due to the coverage issues. The usage of WAP is purely optional; however, you can set it up to provide your employees with the freedom to work where ever they want.
Tips for Laying Down Strong Networking Foundations
Setting up a network for a business is difficult since not many people are aware of the ins and outs of this area. To save money, most people skip buying important equipment or invest in cheap material that ends up costing money in the long run. However, this should not be the case because great equipment automatically translates to stronger business networking foundations. So, the next time you make a trip to the hardware store, keep these tips in your mind:
- Always ensure to invest in good quality routers and switches. Additionally, always invest in the business-grade ones since consumer and other home networking options cannot keep up with the growing networking challenges.
- Always invest in a network that can expand with your business. A network that entertains additional features can get expensive; however, for a growing business, they are the best choice. So any network that facilitates VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), video surveillance, wireless application, and integrated messages can be extremely cost-effective in the long run.
- Make sure that all your equipment is easy to install and has easy usage. This is because when the networking equipment is easy to manage, you will not face the trouble of installing additional tools to facilitate network usage.
- Networking equipment can be a tad expensive and starting out with a small budget can negatively impact your entire set up. That said, spending money on expensive routers while trying to save money by opting for cheaper cables is not going to serve you well. Additionally, combining expensive with cheaper equipment will not add any value. So always invest in good quality equipment.
- Explore Virtual Private Network (VPN) support. A VPN is a safe option for protecting your networking in cases when your employees want to access the business network through an unprotected connection. For more information on setting up a VPN profile.
- Lastly, invest in recovery and backup strategies that enable your business network to bounce back from the unfavorable circumstances.
Once you have set up your business network, you will be faced with other security issues. To protect your network from unauthorized access.
The Closing Point
Almost all of the network equipment follow a common standard which means that you may not be getting your money’s worth. The best way to tackle this issue is by combining cables, routers, and other equipment from various manufacturers.
Before jumping into the market to buy all the equipment mentioned here, you need to understand something. Although all the above-mentioned equipment is necessary, you may not need every single component to set up your business network.
When it comes to setting up a network, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You really have to analyze your needs and figure out what tools will work best for you and what will not. So go through the article and make a list of all the equipment that will serve you and others that will be redundant in your quest to build a suitable business network.